Patrick McCaw had a promising rookie campaign last year, filling in well for Kevin Durant when he was injured and even playing solid minutes in the NBA Finals. He’s a glue-guy wing that can do a little bit of everything, possibly the heir to Andre Iguodala in Golden State.
Many were expecting McCaw, who is now twenty-two years of age, to take the next step this season, securing a prominent bench role and hopefully becoming more confident offensively. But McCaw seems even more passive this year, and has struggled to beat out new additions Omri Casspi and Nick Young in the rotation.
McCaw is playing fewer minutes this year than last, and his usage of 11.0% and total rebounding percentage of 3.9% are the lowest on the team. He shoots the ball so infrequently that it really is noticeable how little influence he has on the Warriors’ offense.
But there are reasons to believe in his future development. His three point percentage of 37.1% is improved over last season, and his True Shooting of 56.9% is quite decent. He’s averaging more assists and steals per 36 minutes than last year, and has looked okay defensively.
It takes a while for young players to find their rhythm within NBA offenses, but McCaw simply has do more. When Kerr stated at the beginning of the year that McCaw would be the nominal “third string point guard,” that likely signaled that McCaw would be focusing on creating for others this year as a large part of his development.
That hasn’t worked. It’s extremely difficult for young players to run an offense, and McCaw just hasn’t figured it out yet. Instead, he should focus on fulfilling the duties of an NBA wing, and that means more slashing, shooting, and scoring.
McCaw’s invisible play likely means he won’t be offered a large contract this summer in free agency. The Warriors could keep him for cheap and bet on his development for the future, which could turn out to be a blessing in disguise. Young players take time, and it’s definitely too early to give up on McCaw. It’s important that he figures out something soon, though.